Is Housing a Human Right?
My name is Robert Warren. I am the director of People for Fairness Coalition. Our primary mission is to advocate for affordable housing for people who are experiencing joblessness and homelessness. People have different definitions for what constitutes affordable housing. Our group has come to a consensus with other bodies who also agree that affordable housing should cost one third of a family’s income. I want to thank the commission for giving me the chance to address the issue of housing as a human right.
I would like to… read a portion of testimony of Patricia Fugere, the executive director of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless that she gave on April 30, 2012 to the DC Council Committee of the Whole.
“A little more than three years ago, the DC Council declared the nation’s capital to be a “Human Rights City. As on many issues, DC was a leader in doing so, the first US city to embrace formally the notion of human rights as the guiding principle toward which this community would strive. …But we stopped short , and the budget on which you will be voting in several weeks falls perilously short of giving the notion of ‘human rights’ true and full meaning for all of this community’s residents.”
I would like to know the commission’s thinking on declaring some form of housing a human right in the District of Columbia. With the Fiscal Year 2013 budget having a shortfall l of $7.5 million and the prospect of low-barrier shelters being closed after April 1, 2013 and people being put out on the street being denied the right to shelter in a Human Rights City, I believe that the citizens of Washington, DC a Human Rights City are being economically discriminated against when it comes to affordable housing in Washington, DC, a Human Rights City. I would hope this body would be willing to better address the lack of affordable housing in DC as to the extent possible they can. Thank you once again for the opportunity to speak to you this evening.